States Battling Obesity, Making Progress
Several states are taking positive steps to combat the nation’s obesity epidemic, especially as it affects children. The University of Baltimore Obesity Initiative’s latest report card gave six states—California, Illinois, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee—an “A” for their legislative and public-policy work in the past year to control childhood obesity. California, New York and Tennessee earned the same grade for their efforts across all populations.
The number of states working to manage the prevalence of obesity is increasing. Last year, for example, a band of states running across the nation’s midsection was viewed as doing little or nothing to combat the problem. This year, that same region is showing all-around improvements, with Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Missouri, West Virginia and both North and South Carolina each earning a “B” on the Obesity Initiative report card.
Zoltan Acs, professor emeritus of economics and entrepreneurship in the university’s school of business and co-founder of the Obesity Initiative, said that a state-based approach to combating obesity makes sense. “We’re seeing more of these laws coming out of the states, and some of them are quite effective,” he said in a press release. “A federal solution would be much more difficult. Every state has a different mix of populations and outlook on diet and nutrition, and so a one-size-fits-all approach simply would not be feasible.”
The report card, including a narrative and methodology, is available at www.ubalt.edu /experts/obesity.
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